Automaker Daimler has carried out its first transaction on the blockchain-based Marco Polo trade finance network. The pilot commercial trade transaction saw the firm – which owns Mercedes-Benz among other brands – process the data required to exchange payments with engineering firm and parts builder Dürr, according to a press release sent to CoinDesk on Wednesday. German bank Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) was also involved in the trade. The pilot involved an order and delivery agreement for a balancing system from Dürr subsidiary Schenck arranged over Marco Polo. Payment was prearranged through a conditional commitment from Daimler’s bank.
Once the ordered equipment was delivered, the fulfillment data was entered onto Marco Polo and automatically reconciled with the agreed transaction data, thus triggering an irrevocable payment obligation. Founded by startups R3 and TradeIX, Marco Polo is built on R3’s Corda blockchain platform. The network aims to deliver real-time connectivity, boost transparency in trading relationships and lower barriers to accessing capital. Currently, arranging traditional paper-based payments for international trade transactions is inefficient and and slow, requiring multiple systems and a number of intermediaries such as logistics providers, insurers, customs authorities, according to LBBW’s announcement.
The pilot – conducted in “minutes instead of days” – had persuaded Dürr and Daimler that blockchain can make the process “faster and simpler,” said the bank.
Susanne Schlegel, CFO of Schenck and Dürr Division Measuring and Process Systems, said:
“We focus on efficiency increases not only with regard to our machines and systems, but also to our business processes. The successful pilot project between Daimler and LBBW demonstrates the intrinsic efficiency potential of digital trade finance processes. Innovative platforms and technologies such as Marco Polo and Corda allow us to reduce complexities in order fulfillment – to the benefit of all participants”
The ability to automatically trigger payments was a milestone for the network, announced in August. Marco Polo’s first such transaction involved LBBW and Commerzbank and saw logistics provider Logwin AG adding data to the blockchain to initiate the payment obligation. Marco Polo has also announced notable new members in recent weeks, with both Bank of America and Mastercard signing up to the project seeking new efficiencies in their trade finance businesses.